We heard that developers had purchased Prudhomme’s Landing, so we immediately went to see the abandoned remains before it all gets turn down. There were at least seven other people exploring the grounds with us that day. The water slide, covered in graffiti, is pretty much a photographer’s dream, particularly when juxtaposed with all the overgrown trees and grass all around. It’s this weird urban treasure in the middle of nature. There was also a hotel and paint ball business on the same location. We checked out all three, but I ended up with nearly one hundred images, so I’m breaking down the posts into individual articles.
I haven’t done extensive research on the topic and neither have any of the pages that appear in the immediate google search listings. When I do, I’ll update for sure. The general consensus is that no one remembers when the park opened. I guess it just appeared out of thin air one day. There seems to be a lot of unknowns around its closure also, but people figure that it wasn’t running after the summer of 2002. It was very busy in its day, and boasted a very scary haunted house (with chicken doors). I sort of remember going through the haunted house once, a few years before it closed, and I’m not exactly brave about that stuff, but I don’t recollect it being unusually traumatizing. The haunted house, which was originally a mansion, burned down. Photos from the park in its heyday are available here.
Prudhomme’s Landing motel burned down a few weeks ago, I think two weeks after I was there. We didn’t run into any ghosts, but Haunted North America has some interesting photos of the park in its abandoned state as well. Much of why they captured wasn’t there by the time we went, at least, not that we saw. My full set of images is available for viewing here with photos of other abandoned places in the area.
Somedays I want to travel so badly, I almost can’t stand staying in one place. A lot of times, I just want to say home and forget a world exists outside of the rabbits jumping around in the backyard. Fortunately, there are enough places in Southern Ontario to explore that most days I can be satisfied with the balance. I always think it’s strange that so often we fly to faraway places to see new things, when so often there are really interesting things in our own neighbourhoods we haven’t yet explored. I’m obsessed with abandoned places currently, so if you know of any good ones in the Haldimand/Hamilton/Niagara area, please let me know. It isn’t the same as returning to NYC with it’s other worldly rhythm, or even camping by a lake. I haven’t felt what it’s like to experience an entirely foreign culture, and landscape, which is definitely a priority in the future, but I do enjoy what’s around me, and that helps fills that wanderlust that colours my night-time dreams.
I use to hate visiting Niagara Falls, until I took a thirteen year old girl there, who had never seen it. We did all the touristy things on Clifton Hill and rode the Maid of the Mist. Ever since then, I’ve enjoyed going. Being a tourist in your own area is a lot more fun that sounds, if you can get over the embarrassed and cheesy feeling of doing touristy things.
This is a little place we found about twenty minutes from home.
You can see other blog posts on abandoned places I visit here and I’ve started a 500px account exclusively for my travels. There isn’t a lot posted yet, but there will be.
Even if you travel the world every few weeks, don’t forget to look around at what is right beside you. You could visit a busy city or a quiet countryside and not see anything that speaks to your heart, but in my home county, I find so many beautiful things. I guess it depends what you’re looking for really; I’m just suggesting you don’t forget to travel to your hometown and be a tourist there for a while.
Nature doesn’t need us, but we need it, so we should take better care of it – abandoned homes always make that evident. I remember reading that somewhere. I think I mentioned it in another blog post. Every time we go exploring, I see that evidence that nature finds a way. The dirt and dust seeps in across the floor. The wood warps. The metal rusts. Eventually the grasses and trees wiggle their way through roof tops and vines crawl up the bricks or stones. It makes abandoned places beautiful, although somehow still sad.
A few weeks ago now, Sarah and I set off to find a different abandoned house, in fact, a few different abandoned houses. They were torn down and new places re-built in their stead. We had almost given up when we came across this place, and it’s one of my favourites so far.
We couldn’t actually go into the house since the floor was caving in, but I took so many photos of the vines coming in through the roof. On the front of the house, you could see rays of sunshine just above the eaves. I couldn’t capture it though. Someone how pulled old magazines out of the drawers and left them on a counter. You could tell that they hadn’t been there long because the elements hadn’t gotten to them yet. Someone lived in there once. They slept here and came home from work here. It’s just so weird to imagine.
The path behind the house was covered in wildflowers, and the barn was even more overgrown.
There was wild phlox everywhere! We went right after noon, so the shadows are harsh, but I think you can still get a sense of the beauty of the place. Definitely a good place to find ticks, but I didn’t go home with any hitchhikers this time. On the way, when we got turned around, we did find some sheep though.
So many times we visit a place over and over and miss the secret things that exist there. You can pass a bright orange building more times than you can count, and not even know that it’s an abandoned treasure. Finally, a friend of mine decided to look in it, and he snapped some photos and then I saw it for the first time. It’s like when you see a quotation or read a book, and it doesn’t speak to you, until suddenly it does. Sometimes I wish I could speed up those revelatory moments, but it just doesn’t work that way.
The best part about this place was the light. It streamed it through the empty door off the river. It wasn’t the easiest building to photograph from that standpoint, a wide dynamic range, but it illuminated the old stove and our faces when we stepped near the doorway.
I know that we can’t force revelations to happen, we can’t find perfect places that we don’t know exist, but somehow we need to find a way to be open to new experiences and not miss the chance when they come our way.
This spring has been full of abandoned places, and I love how you are transported back to the past for the length of time you are there. Yet, even there, time doesn’t stand still. Nature takes back the space. People visit and stay over night, or have parties there, and leave their drinking cups or water bottles. The dust is disturbed, the mattresses are moved. No place is untouched by humans, but it’s nice to venture into places that are neglected and discarded. There are so many, but you have to look. You have to be ready to slam on the brakes. You have to be willing to see beauty in unlikely places. Hopefully then, the overlooked places and knowledge will be easier to find.
I think photographers everywhere are obsessed with abandoned buildings and places that nature has taken back. A few weeks ago my cousin visited and he loves urban exploration probably more than I do, so he came prepared with a list of sites to check out in the Niagara Region.
We started checking out the old canal/lock systems. One of them is right in the middle of a Battle of Beaver dams park and is used as a seating area in front of a bandshell. This part of the old canal is really crumbling, and very beautiful. It’s part of the Bruce trail if you want to check it out.
I don’t actually remember where it was in Niagara, but we walked down a trail and checked out this private estate train station, which now just looks like an old pavilion. It was pretty run down and so were the walls surrounding the property. The old gate is pretty nice though, and so was one of the neighbours who provided us with the history.
(I just took these on my cell phone and didn’t straighten all the horizon lines so my apologizes but you can still see how lovely the area is, even in early spring before anything is really in bloom.)
Lake Ontario from a park in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
We drove all the way down along the Niagara River, and randomly just found this monument as the sun was setting. A few kids were sitting out there with skateboards, and randomly started talking to us about the weather.
These aren’t the usual places you explore in this area, but I really enjoyed myself. Anyone know any other interesting places in Niagara Region?